Saturday, 29 January 2022

Insanity and Intoxication

 INSANITY AND INTOXICATION


INTRODUCTION OF INSANITY:

It means the extreme foolishness or irrationality. The state of being seriously mentally ill. It can be defined as a mental disease or defect includes any abnormal condition of the mind which substantially affects mental or emotional process and substantially affects behaviour controls. 

Example: McDonald v. United States, 114 

  • Unsoundness of mind is commonly termed insanity and according to medical science, is a disorder of the mind which impairs the mental faculties of a man. Insanity is popularly denoted by idiocy, madness, lunacy, mental derangement, mental disorder and all the other forms of mental abnormality known to the department of medical sciences to describe a few. 

  • Thus, an uncontrollable impulse driving a man to kill or wound would come within its scope of the medical definition of the term insanity. 

INSANITY AS A DEFENCE: 

  • Insanity is a mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot manage his/her own affairs, or is subject to uncontrollable impulse behaviour. In criminal cases, a plea of “not guilty by reason of insanity” will require a trial on the issue of the defendant’s insanity at the time the crime was committed. 

  • Here, “not guilty” does not mean the person did not commit the criminal act for which he/she is charged. It means that when the person committed he crime, he/she could not tell the right from wrong or could not control his/her behaviour because of severe mental defect or illness. Such a person, the law holds, should not be held criminally responsible for their behaviour. 

  • The legal test of insanity varies from state to state.   

LEGAL INSANITY:

Insanity in law means a disorder of the mind which impairs the cognitive faculty i.e., the reasoning capacity of a man, to such an extent as to render him incapable of understanding the nature and consequences of his actions. 

LEGAL INSANITY AS A DEFENCE:

There is a test of insanity to measure the level of insanity that is allowed in the legal sense. The maxim “furiosus nulla voluntas est” indicates that ‘a person who is suffering from a mental disorder cannot be said to have committed a crime as he does not know what he is doing’. ‘A madman is like one who is absent’. 

According to section 84 of IPC – act of a person of unsound mind 

  • Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who at the time of doing it, by reason of unsoundness of mind, is incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he is doing either wrong or contrary to law. 


INTOXICATION

According to Section 85 – act of a person incapable of judgement by reason of intoxication caused against his will – 

Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who at the time of doing it, is, by reason of intoxication, incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he is doing what is either wrong or contrary to law, provided that the thing which intoxicated him was administered to hi without his knowledge or against his will. 

According to Section 86 – offence requiring a particular intent or knowledge committed by one who is intoxicated – 

In cases where an act done is not an offence unless done with a particular knowledge or intent, a person who does the act in a state of intoxication shall be liable to eb dealt with as if he had the same knowledge as he would had if he had not been intoxicated, unless the thing which intoxicated him was administered to him without his knowledge or against his will.   


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